The 'Je Parle Français' series of French Language Instruction films was filmed in 1960-61 and produced by Encyclopaedia Britannica Film's Milan Herzog in conjunction with Otterbein College professor La Velle Rosselot, and Georges Matoré, Dean of the Language & Civilization Dept, Sorbonne. Rosselot was the prime educational consultant and curriculum developer for the film project. Her father was a history professor at Otterbein, and her brother Gerald was one of the founders of Scientific Atlanta. She makes at least one appearance in the series as herself in lesson #7,'Pouvez-vous Me Dire...' Referring to the same episode, noted academic filmmaker, and later head of Special Effects for industrial Light & Magic Tom Smith writes: "In lesson #7 (18:43), I dubbed the voice of the fellow coming down the stairs carrying a tennis racket. 'Hi Chris, see you later.' The French actor playing the role had a bad accent when he spoke English so Milan used me."
The films were made by Tadié-Cinema in France, and distributed by EB in 1963. The camerawork was by Georges Strouvé and Jacques Duhamel. Actors were not credited, but included Jean Renoir veteran Ghislaine Dumont as Margot. There were 120 films made in the series, most of which were between 4 and 8 minutes in length. No film was longer than 10 minutes in duration. There were 62 speaking roles in the series and a crew of 16.
The films in the series are notable for spectacular footage of important French monuments, such as Mont Saint-Michel and the chateaux of the Loire, and for ethnographic elements, including the culture of Betagne. They depict France as it was in 1961, including wonderful fashions (e.g. the magnificent dress worn by the wife in the 'Chaumont' film), family members smoking cigarettes in the films, and the relative lack of motor traffic. The story line revolves around the travels through France of Anne, a Québecoise, her French friend Margot, and Margot's uncle, who acts as her guide.
Today, aside from what may be in EB's vaults, no complete edition of these films nor teacher's manuals appear to be extant. It is believed that manuals were in 4 volumes, covering lessons 1-27, 28-66, 67-81, and 82-120 respectively. For more on EB's foreign lanuage instruction films of the early 1960s, visit http://www.afana.org/ebforeign.htm For more on producer Milan Herzog, visit http://www.afana.org/herzog.htm
Cultral films from the series are in the process of being uploaded. The films in this video, which begin the series, are filmed primarily in schools, as follows:
L’École Américane, #1 Permettez Moi, #2 Je M’appelle, #3 Ma Soeur Anne, #4 Ou Allez-Vous?, #5, Qu’est-ce que Vous Étudiez?, #6 Pouvez-vous Me Dire…, #7, where La Velle Rosselot appears as herself onscreen during the démonstration Anne a L’université De Rennes, #8 Etes-vous Étudiante?, #9 Parlez-vous Anglais?, #10 Un Café d’Étudiants, #11 Le 9 Octobre, #12 Je Ne Sais, #13
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These films were uploaded by permission of Encyclopaedia Britannica Corp., who retains all rights.